If you’re anything like me, you’re probably regularly looking for the best deal out there. Whether its shopping for a new car, home or just groceries, I’m always drawn to the freebies! I guess its the same with Email Marketing. Especially when you’ve first started and “getting your feet wet”, you might not be prepared to use too much on your tools in addition.
Although there’s some really great tools out there, like Aweber and Send Studio, I’m going to be talking about a few Open Source (read free) alternatives that you can start with. Now, these software are not for the faint-hearted or technologically challenged. Although most of them are quite simple to install, you nevertheless need to have some grasp of the technical jargon involved. You’ll find that popular hosting panels like cPanel and Fantastico might have them pre-installed.
1. DadaMail – http://mojo.skazat.com/
Dada Mail has been around for awhile. Its written in Perl and can be set to use a flat file or a database like MySQL or PostgreSQL. The installation can be a bit daunting, but worth the effort. Once installed you can use it to generate your subscription form and cut and paste that into your website easily. Read our Dada Mail review here.
2. PhpList – http://www.tincan.co.uk/phplist
The description on their website reads: “PHPlist is a double opt-in newsletter manager. It is written in PHP and uses an SQL database for storing the information. PHPlist is software that runs on a server.” The install is also quite simple but I found the interface less friendly than Dada Mail’s. However it has some nice prebuilt features like Open and Click Tracking, plus a nice ability to pickup from the last email in case the sending fails midway.
3. Infinite Responder – http://infinite.ibasics.biz/
Unlike the 2 above, this is an Sequential Autoresponder developed with PHP that allows you to time your messages. It has an opt-in characterize plus allows for Unlimited Autoresponders. A nice piece of software with an active forum to ask for help when you need it.
That’s an intro to some of the more popular Open Source Email Marketing tools you can use. I’ve left out Mailman and Majordomo as its far too complicated for this purpose. If there’s more that you’d like to see additional, please contact me. But tools aside, its how you use them creatively that matters, but use them you must! A website without a mailing list is leaving a lot of money on the table as you would not have any method of contacting your prospects!
What I also like about using tools like these is that the information is in MySQL and that’s easy to integrate into other membership registration forms and systems. You can already program your order form to automatically capture buyer’s email addresses into the same database but use these email marketing tools to contact them.
If you don’t know where to start or find installing scripts like this daunting, then head on over to Scriptlance or Elance and you get someone to do it for you affordably. Or perhaps if you ask nicely, some tech sustain at your hosting company might do it for you.
That rounds up my quick tour of Open Source Email Marketing tools. Remember that free is not always bad as these tools are often developed with collaboration from many bright programmers, ensuring you stable and reliable software.